Speed Reads

diplomacy

Pence says the U.S. will 'hold Russia accountable,' back NATO allies

Vice President Mike Pence on Friday traveled to Germany for the annual Munich Security Conference, at which he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both spoke Saturday morning.

"Know this: The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know, President Trump believes can be found," Pence said. "Be assured: President Trump and the American people are fully devoted to our transatlantic union." Pence's remarks contrast with Trump's repeated statements that NATO is "obsolete," though he reiterated Trump's demand that NATO allies meet their treaty-mandated military spending goals.

Merkel's speech labeled the U.S. a necessary ally in Europe's war on terror, while her praise for a free press and insistence on cooperation with Muslim allies were interpreted as criticisms of Trump. "The challenges of this world today cannot be mastered by one state alone. It needs a cooperative effort. We need to forge ahead with multilateral structures. We have to strengthen them," she said. "Let me address this very openly. The Europeans alone cannot cope with fighting international Islamist terrorism. We also need the support of the United States."